First fic EVER featuring Ginny. I don't hate her, unlike most slash writers, and she's so not a Mary-Sue. It's just that I hate trouble identifying with her before now. But I just got my copy of DH back today, and in rereading it I came across Ginny screaming when everyone thinks Harry's dead and the idea was like BANG! I had one of those epiphanies where the idea just pops fully formed into your head. That's the second time in a month! I'm on a roll!
Disclaimer: The characters, settings yaddayaddayadda don't belong to me. They are JKR's! As is some of the dialogue, as I am basically doing one of the climactic scenes from Ginny's POV.
Ginny stood, straight backed and proud, wand in hand, facing away from the row of bodies. Ron was on her left, holding Hermione's hand and Neville was to her right, every inch the warrior.
Their hour was up, and Harry had not, of course gone to Voldemort. Ginny cast her eyes about the throng of people in the Hall, most of whom had adopted similar positions in front of the bodies and the injured.
She shoved her mind angrily away from thoughts of Fred and Tonks and Lupin and concentrated instead on the buzz in the air, the fear and adrenaline.
She suppressed a frustrated snort, but Neville noticed anyway. He glanced sideways at her.
"He's got a plan, Gin."
She blinked, and Neville cracked a grin.
"Harry. He's got a plan. All we have to do is kill the bastard's dirty great snake, and we'll win. Harry's got it all under control, don't you worry."
Ginny managed to crack a small smile. "Yeah?"
She reached out and gave his hand a tentative squeeze. "Thanks, Nev."
They didn't have a hope in hell, really. With Voldemort about to join the battle in seconds, all most of them could hope for was to die fighting, knowing they'd given their lives for a cause greater than themselves. Cliché it may have been, but it was the death Ginny had always wished for. She could have hoped to be a bit older, but Ginny would far rather have died on the battlefield then grow old knowing she'd hidden in a broom closet.
Her mind strayed to Harry. Harry, and the kiss they'd last shared, eons ago in the Burrow. Harry, and his stupid nobility that had prevented them from sharing another, Harry and his glasses and his ridiculous hair that she just ached to run her fingers through and his quirky way of smiling, when he'd lift just the corner of his mouth…
"Harry Potter is dead."
For the first few seconds, there was nothing. No words, no actions. No thought. Just Voldemort's sibilant hiss echoing through the Great Hall.
Ron and Hermione glanced uncertainly at each other as Ginny frowned, shaking her head. Nevile, however, grinned and nudged her in the side.
"The plan, remember?"
Of course, Harry's plan. It was a trick, of course it was. Harry, who had escaped Voldemort countless times before, could not be dead.
It just wasn't possible.
"He was killed as he ran away, trying to save himself while you lay down your lives for him."
The Great Hall was humming now, some uncertain but most smiling, shaking their heads.
It was a cheap trick. Most, if not all of the people in the Hall knew Harry, the kind of person he was. He never ran away, not even in the face of death and worse, and certainly not when there were people counting on him.
"We bring you his body as proof that your hero is gone."
Ginny felt the first knife of fear slice her heart, but stamped her foot angrily, pushing it away to the back of her head where Fred and Tonks and Lupin were. A construct, a glamour, Polyjuice. Not Harry. Never Harry.
But it appeared some people didn't have Ginny's faith. The smiles were faltering, hands lifting to mouths. A sobbing cry heard from a girl on the other side of the Hall.
"The battle is one. You have lost half your fighters." So? We still have half left, and we'll fight until there's no more. "My Death Eaters outnumber you and the Boy Who Lived is finished." He's not. "There must be no war. Anyone who continues to resist, man, woman or child, will be slaughtered, as will every member of their family. Come out of the castle, now, kneel before me and you shall be spared. Your parents and children, your brothers and sisters will live, and be forgiven, and you will join me in the new world we shall build together."
Silence. Ginny looked around the Hall and was astonished to see the despair there, the tears rolling down people's faces as they moved towards the doors. Ron and Hermione clutched each others hands, white knuckled, but stayed where they were.
"What are you doing?" Ginny yelled, incensed. "Can't you see? It's a trap! A lie, you know better than this! You know Harry better than this! He wouldn't leave us!" He wouldn't leave me.
"Maybe…Maybe he was captured, trying to kill Voldemort…" Lavender Brown ventured softly, but in the sudden silence it echoed throughout the Great Hall.
"Maybe he gave himself up," Bill said, exhaustion etched in his scarred face.
"It is the sort of idiotic, heroic thing Harry would do," someone else agreed.
And it was. Ginny kicked that thought to the back of her head too.
"Stop it!" she cried. "Stop it, stop it, stop it!" Neville gently touched her shoulder. She spun around angrily to face him. "Not you too."
"Maybe this is part of Harry's plan. He'll need all his fighters ready if we're to make a last stand."
Ginny looked up at him hopefully.
"I will look."
Professor McGonagall, bearing a jagged, semi-healed wound down the side of her face but otherwise unharmed, had her Headmistress face on. And no one in their right mind messed with Professor McGonagall's Headmistress face.
People had started to huddle together. The fear was palpable as the remaining fighters allowed doubt to settle into their minds, but Ginny stayed strong, watching, unblinking, as McGonagall strode her way to the doors.
They swung open and a few seconds later the sound of the Entrance Hall doors opening reached Ginny's ears.
The horrific scream felt like it had been ripped straight from McGonagall's throat and punched into Ginny's stomach. She doubled over, all the air suddenly gone from her lungs as she covered her mouth with her hands.
"No" she whispered harshly. "No."
Ron and Hermione, still hand in hand, broke into a run towards the doors. Neville swung Ginny, shaking, up into his arms and ran after them, followed by everyone else.
Ginny clenched her eyes shut, not wanting to see it.
If I don't open my eyes, it isn't true. It's not real, it's not real, it's not real—
Neville came to an abrupt stop, jolting her out of his arms. She landed on her feet, eyes still closed.
She couldn't help it. At Ron and Hermione's screams, Ginny's eyes flew open and the first thing they landed on was him.
The name was pulled from her on reflex as her knees weakened and she dropped to the ground. Her eyes stung with tears that had been all cried out at Fred's death and Tonk's and Lupin's and now there was nothing left for Harry.
Screams of rage and abuse rose from behind her, but Ginny couldn't hear them. Her eyes were fixed on that awful, awful sight in Hagrid's heaving arms. Eyelid's closed over those brilliant, beautiful eyes, face devoid of any emotion and a limp, dead body.
"SILENCE!" A bang, a flash and silence fell, but Ginny wasn't paying attention. "It is over! Set him down, Hagrid, at my feet, where he belongs."
He belongs here, with us, you sick, sick, perverted son of a bitch!
Harry's head lolled grotesquely to the side. Open your eyes, Harry. Please. Please. Open your eyes. Damn it, if you love me at all, open your eyes!
"You see? Harry Potter is dead! Do you understand now deluded ones? He was nothing, ever, but a boy who relied on others to sacrifice themselves for him."
Not relied. Never relied. We gave – give – ourselves freely. Harry, open your eyes!
"He beat you!" Ron yelled, and Ginny had never been prouder of her brother, his shout setting off the defenders of Hogwarts again. She felt a pair of arms slide under hers and lift her to her feet.
"Come on Gin. He did it for us," Neville whispered. "He had a plan, remember?"
"His plan was to die?" She choked on the word.
"Maybe. But he told me, kill the snake. So I'm going to kill the snake. And I'm going to rally these fighters while I'm at it, and we're going to fight."
"We'll die," Ginny whispered.
"Well, sure. That's the nature of a last stand. But no one came out here unprepared to die. I know I didn't and I know you didn't. And if he kills me up there, you take over. And Ron, and Hermione and everyone else until maybe we're all dead, but at least we chose our deaths, yeah? And who knows. Maybe we'll take him out with us." He gave a feral, totally un-Neville like grin. "After all, Harry wouldn't have left us with an impossible task, right?"
"He was killed while trying to sneak out of the castle grounds," said Voldemort, his voice triumphant at what had to be a lie. "killed while trying to save himself—"
And then he let Ginny go, and she found she was quite able to stand on her own.
Another bang, another flash of light and Neville charged. He hit the ground, Disarmed and Voldemort threw his wand aside, but Ginny knew Neville wasn't an idiot.
Even if he died, his death would mean something. He'd die a hero.
Ginny was going to do the same.
"And who is this?" Voldemort crooned. "Who has volunteered to demonstrate what happens to those who continue to fight when the battle is lost?"
Bellatrix Lestrange laughed, and the sound was full of insanity. Ginny clenched her fists and walked forward to stand next to Ron and Hermione.
"It is Neville Longbottom, my Lord! The boy who has been causing the Carrows so much trouble! The son of the Aurors, remember?"
"Ah, yes, I remember." Neville struggled to his feet, standing straight-backed and proud, despite his total exposure and lack of protection. "But you are pure-blood, aren't you, my brave boy?" the snake-faced bastard asked Neville, who, like Ginny and Ron and Hermione and Merlin knew how many defenders, was clenching his fists.
"So what if I am?"
"You show spirit, and bravery, and you come of noble stock. You will make a very valuable Death Eater. We need your kind, Neville Longbottom."
"I'll join you when hell freezes over," Neville snarled. Ginny had to give him points for style, if not originality. "Dumbledore's Army!" he shouted, and the crowd broke through the silencing charm once again, screaming their allegiance. Ginny found her voice proudly among them.
"Very well." Voldemort's voice was dangerously silky as he gestured with his wand. Seconds later, the Sorting Hat was in his hand and the self-named Lord began his umpteenth speech of the night. "There will be no more Sorting at Hogwarts School. There will be no more houses. The emblem, shield and colours of my noble ancestor, Salazar Slytherin, will suffice for everyone, won't they, Neville Longbottom?"
And then his wand was pointed at Neville, who froze, and the Hat was forced down over his eyes, and what on earth was Voldemort intending to do? Ginny reached for her wand, and so did the Death Eaters. She was tempted to try for an attack anyway, but it would be pointless suicide, and ruin Neville's performance or whatever he wanted to call it, before he'd made his point and died.
Ginny was rather afraid of the way she was taking Neville's impending doom so easily, but that was a very small part of her mind, The rest of it had been taken over by an unmoving calm that came with the knowledge that she herself was about to die.
"Neville here is now going to demonstrate what happens to anyone foolish enough to oppose me," Voldemort said, and then the Hat was on fire.
Screams rose through the dawn air, and Ginny was ashamed to say her voice was among them. Martyr, yes, but by flames?
Rest in peace, then, Neville Longbottom.
And then suddenly, all hell broke loose.
Ululating cries of war came from the direction of the distant walls as reinforcements arrived. Grawp the giant came thundering toward the action, somewhat mangling his brother's name, which resulted in Voldemort's giants rushing at Grawp, shaking the very earth. Then the centaurs from the Forbidden Forest joined the fray, arrows felling who knew how many Death Eaters in those first precious seconds of surprise.
Neville broke the Body-Bind curse upon him, Merlin knew how, and the flaming Hat fell into his hand and then he reached into its depths and out came something silver and glittering red…
Ginny, who had been standing there in shock much like the Death Eaters knew there was no way anybody could have heard it, but somehow every eye on the battle field turned to Neville as, with one downward stroke, he killed the snake.
Merlin's Balls, he did it. He did it.
She ignored the flight of Nagini's head, whipping out her wand instead and cursing the Death Eater's who did stand and stare. The adrenaline was pumping again, and she whirling around, screaming jinxes and curses and spells and whipping out the accompanying movements as fast as she can.
"HARRY!" Hagrid shouted. "HARRY – WHERE'S HARRY!"
Ginny's world slowed down. Her head jack-knifed in the direction where his body had been lying and—
She scanned the area around it, absentmindedly stunning a Death Eater underling.
And then she knew. By Merlin, she knew, and fought all the harder for it, a slightly manic smile gracing her lips.
Because Harry was alive.
Bad ending? I wasn't entirely sure how to end it, but I thought that right about there was a good point. Please review, tell me what you thought. Concrit entirely welcome.